Police raid homes of Workers’ Party and TGB members ahead of Ergenekon verdict
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Turkish Youth Union's Chairman Çağdaş Cengiz was taken into custody. DHA photoPolice have launched raids at several locations in Istanbul and Ankara, including NGOs and media bureaus ahead of the Ergenekon trial verdict hearing scheduled to take place Aug. 5, detaining at least 20 people.
Police squads set out in the early hours of Aug. 3 and raided the home addresses of the Workers’ Party (İP) officials both in Istanbul and in Ankara, as well as homes of members of the Turkish Youth Union (TGB), a youth association affiliated with the party. Homes of some journalists at daily Aydınlık and broadcaster Ulusal Kanal, both linked with İP, were also searched.
Police units also raided TGB’s Istanbul headquarters at the Beyoğlu district.
The searched addresses included the homes of TGB’s Istanbul province head Olgu Özdemir and vice-chairman Utku Faik Yılmaz, İP’s Istanbul province head Osman Bilge Kuruca and Ankara province head Osman Yılmaz, Aydınlık editor-in-chief İker Yücel and reporter Osman Erbil as well as Ulusal Kanal’s Ankara representative Mustafa Kaya.
TGB’s Chairman Çağdaş Cengiz was among the 20 people taken into custody.
The Ergenekon trial is set to be brought to a conclusion at the Silivri courthouse after 576 hearings held over four years. The Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has taken extreme security measures, banning public access to the courtroom. He also announced no demonstrations would be allowed anywhere near the Courthouse, urging citizens to ignore calls to attend the event.
İP and TGB were among the groups which had organized demonstrations during several past hearings at the Silivri Courthouse. They had called on their supporters for a new gathering at the courthouse Aug. 5, during the trial’s conclusion.
Operation aim 'preventing demo'
TGB’s board member Güldane Pekdoğan confirmed the raids, adding that police entered with search warrants but did not give them detailed information about the reason for the raids.
We were told that the search will take some time. We had called on patriots to gather Aug. 5 in Silivri following the Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu’s statement. We think that the searches are related and aim to prevent it,” she told Doğan news agency.
Some TGB members started to gather around the Istanbul headquarters after hearing the news of the raids.